Lumen Technologies to donate over $7 million in tax credits to provide educational opportunities for AZ students
It’s quite a combination. Arizona’s Private School Tax Program helps children in need with scholarships, and it provides a great opportunity for Lumen Technologies to help families create a better future.
Arizona provides dollar-for-dollar tax credits for contributions made to Certified School Tuition Organizations (STOs), which provide scholarships to students enrolled in Arizona private schools. Lumen plans to donate $7.5 million of these tax credits to seven STOs in the state.
The donation is one of the ways Lumen walks the talk in its goal to further human progress. Real families, real progress. Take for example, siblings Natalie, Riley and Macy – at-risk children in the Arizona foster care system. Thanks to the state’s Private School Tax Credit Program, they can forge a new path in life.
For these kids, education offers a way forward. Because they do not live in a neighborhood with robust public schools, the children sought to attend private high schools with the support of a STO. Their guardian, Kelly, was able to secure tuition for them through the tax credit program, and Natalie, Riley and Macy are now thriving in school and pursuing studies or careers that will allow them to pay forward to their communities.
Rami is a great example of this, as he is already giving back, while still a college student. The tax credit program allowed Rami, whose family is low-income, to fulfill his dream of attending Notre Dame Preparatory High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. Upon graduating in 2019, he received a scholarship to attend the University of Washington, where he is pursuing a degree in biology on the pre-med track. While in Seattle and in the middle of the pandemic, Rami was troubled by the number of people without homes in the city. He founded the Seattle arm of the New York-based project, Umbrella, and has recruited students from the university to help make a positive impact in the city.
“The benefits of this program reach out from Arizona to cross the globe – where these great kids go, their potential follows. At Lumen, we talk about enhancing human progress, and the STO program is a great way to achieve that goal in Arizona and beyond,” said Jeff Mirasola, director of Government Affairs in Arizona. “Over the years it has been my privilege to meet scholarship recipients through the STO program, and I have seen firsthand the how broader education options can open doors to a future filled with opportunity. Every kid deserves that kind of future.”
The program continues to open doors to a new, brighter future for students like the fourth grader who had been bullied to the point of physical injury. He was able to transfer to an STO-supported private school, where he has blossomed academically and athletically. And like Majok, a refugee from South Sudan, who excelled in basketball at his private high school and was highly recruited by several PAC-12 universities. Now attending Pepperdine, Majok credits the scholarship he received through the tax credit program for his success.
“A lot of people think the tax credit program is too good to be true, but there really isn’t a catch,” said Linda Zell, executive director of the Jewish Tuition Organization, one of the seven Arizona STOs Lumen supports. “It’s an opportunity to invest in young students’ educations, specifically supporting low-income families and individuals.”
For information on the Arizona Private School Tax Credit Program, visit: https://azdor.gov/tax-credits/credits-contributions-certified-school-tuition-organizations.